Lowcountry Strong: Helping seniors connect and celebrate with video chat

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 7:28 AM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - During this pandemic many of us are using phones, iPads, laptops and other devices to connect with our loved ones.

Staff at The Village at Summerville, a senior living facility, are helping their residents use the technology as well.

Visitors are no longer allowed at the facility and staff are getting health screenings every day before coming to work.

“Our life enrichment team has done an awesome job in providing these FaceTime and Skype opportunities that have really brought people closer together in times when that is pretty difficult," executive director Tim Barresi said.

A special moment happened this week when one of the residents turned 100-years-old. Family and friends planned to visit Emily Wood and throw a party, but plans had to change due to COVID-19. Staff helped Wood get on the video platform, Zoom, so she could chat with family and friends from all over the country.

“I’m overwhelmed," Wood said as she pointed out her son, granddaughter, great granddaughter and others on an iPad. The family sent a cake and Wood had about 40 birthday cards to open.

“I have two birthday cakes,” Wood said. “I’m going to have some today.”

“You better,” her son said. “Better eat some for all of us.”

Another sweet moment was captured when resident, Patricia Gerengher, a former church organist, played for her daughter over FaceTime.

“I’m at the piano in the chapel, and I was just going to play a little song for you, a very short one," she said. Gerengher’s daughter smiled as she watched her mom.

Barresi said the residents have done a great job at adapting to this new normal.

“With this generation of people, they’ve been through tough times in their lives, significant historical challenges, and they have received this very well," he added. “They have been very understanding and very patient.”

Many of them have picked up on the new technology and are now able to do it on their own.

If you know someone or a group of people making the Lowcountry a better place during this time, you can tell us about it by filling out this form. You can also email Abbey O’Brien at and you might see them recognized on Live5News.

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